Nap of the day – Mystic Theatre (7.15)
3.40 – Magic Of Light – Martinstown Opportunity Series Final Handicap Hurdle – Each/Way
Magic Of Light might go well in what could be one most open races of the week. She was a bumper winner at Navan in November and has had a few runs over hurdles and wasn’t beaten all that far on her handicap debut when third at Limerick at the beginning of the month. The ground will be much quicker here and perhaps that will suit the six-year-old that is certainly open to improvement. Shamiran his won this race for the past two years but he is very much a veteran at this stage and the likes of Tellthemnuttin, a winner on soft ground at Wexford last time, will definitely act on this sounder surface and rates as a bigger danger. Cases could also be made for other recent winners Blast Of Koeman, Close Shave and Fridaynightlights. The latter is the first reserve but certainly comes into the reckoning if getting a run.
Exacta – 24-9 (Magic Of Light/Tellthemnuttin)
Trifecta – 24-9-18 (Magic Of Light/Tellthemnuttin/Blast Of Koeman)
4.20 – Battleford – Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Hurdle – Win
Battleford should be up to winning a race like this. He was never seen with a chance behind Champagne Classic in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but earlier efforts behind Monalee at Clonmel and The Storyteller at Thurles have a good look to them. A narrow runner-up in the Cheltenham and Aintree bumpers last season, he is preferred to Minella For Dawn which was in with every chance when falling at the final flight in a Grade 2 hurdle won by Al Boum Photo at Fairyhouse. C’Est Jersey, a stable companion of the selection, runs in blinkers for the first time. He was totally outclassed behind Penhill at Cheltenham but is in with a chance of reaching the frame on some of his earlier form and the drop in trip might suit. Burgas carries the hopes of a stable in form and might not be far away while Drumconnor Lad might also have chance as he goes up a grade after his Fairyhouse maiden hurdle success.
Exacta – 2-9 (Battleford/Minella For Dawn)
Trifecta – 2-9-5 (Battleford/Minella For Dawn/C’Est Jersey)
4.55 – Penhill – Grade 1 Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle – Win
Penhill might just have the edge. He ran his best race when readily accounting for this afternoon’s rival Monalee in the Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle at Cheltenham and continues on the upgrade. This trip has certainly brought out the best in him and he is chosen ahead of another Cheltenham Festival winner Presenting Percy which was most impressive in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle but this will be different and the step up in class might just catch him out. Al Boum Photo was a Grade 2 winner at Fairyhouse and is another with far more on his plate here and the same can be said for both the Cheltenham winner Champagne Classic and Tim Soldier which are closely matched on earlier domestic form.
Exacta – 4-3 (Penhill/Monalee)
Trifecta – 4-3-5 (Penhill/Monalee/Presenting Percy)
5.30 – Sizing John – Grade 1 Coral Punchestown Gold Cup – Win
Sizing John has been a revelation since going up in trip and is very much the one to beat after his wins in the Stan James Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February and the Timico Gold Cup last month. He impressed when beating Minella Rocco and Native River at Cheltenham and a close fourth that day was this afternoon’s rival Djakadam with Outlander much further back in tenth place. Outlander had earlier finished ahead of Djakadam when beating Don Poli to win at Leopardstown and might yet be a value bet the chase the selection home. Coneygree is a very welcome overseas raider but he surely has it all to do on his first start since losing out to Cue Card at Haydock Park in November.
Exacta – 6-5 (Sizing John/Outlander)
Trifecta – 6-5-3 (Sizing John/Outlander/Djakadam)
6.05 – Fayonagh – Grade 1 Racing Post Champion INH Flat Race – Win
Fayonagh is difficult to oppose after her terrific display when winning the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last month. She lost ground at the start on that occasion but still came through to win in great style from subsequent scorer Debuchet. Her earlier runs when successful at Naas and Fairyhouse also look good and she is taken to confirm Cheltenham form with Carter McKay which lost his unbeaten record at the Festival after earlier successes at Leopardstown and Naas. Someday lost out to the smart Cilaos Emery in a bumper here exactly a year ago but returned to win at Leopardstown in February. He should improve on that and might be third best ahead of Poli Roi, a stable companion of the selection.
Exacta – 6-1 (Fayonagh/Carter McKay)
Trifecta – 6-1-5 (Fayonagh/Carter McKay/Someday)
6.40 – Polidam – Guinness Handicap Chase – Win
Polidam is an interesting recruit to the Willie Mullins stable and it is certainly eye-catching that he makes his Irish debut in a €100,000 handicap chase as the trainers’ championship goes down to the wire. The eight-year-old is running in his first handicap chase here and could be thrown in on his overseas form that includes two wins over fences. Vintage Vinnie finished seventh over the big fences at Aintree earlier in the month and might improve on that as it was his first start since December. His trainer also runs Irish Cavalier which was successful in this race last year but has ground to make up on his stable companion on that Aintree run. Rightdownthemiddle was second over the regular fences at Aintree three weeks ago and he certainly should be considered along with his stable mate Jetstream Jack and perhaps Peoples Park at the bottom of the handicap.
Exacta – 7-9 (Polidam/Vintage Vinnie)
Trifecta – 7-9-10 (Polidam/Vintage Vinnie/Rightdownthemiddle)
7.15 – Mystic Theatre – Grade 3 Weatherbys General Stud Book EBF Mares INH Flat Race – Win
Mystic Theatre is the pick on the better ground. She was a winner on her first start on the racecourse at Fairyhouse at the end of January but was no match for this evening’s rival Bluegrass Princess at Naas in March. There was 11 lengths between the pair then but the selection is 7lbs better off here and conditions will be nowhere near as testing. Bluegrass Princess was a winner on good ground at Tramore last August but this will be very different and Half The Odds might be a bigger danger. She has ground to make up with Minutestomidnight on a run at Wexford earlier in the month but looked much more at home when winning on a sounder surface at Fairyhouse last time. Dawn Shadow might also prefer the better ground and could go well.
Exacta – 8-4 (Mystic Theatre/Half The Odds)
Trifecta – 8-4-7 (Mystic Theatre/Half The Odds/Minutestomidnight)
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